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Modern Architecture in Africa: Angola and Mozambique
Drawings, plans, elevations
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The publication Modern Architecture in Africa: Angola and Mozambique (Lisboa, FCT, 2013) is the main result of the research project “EWV_Exchanging Worlds Visions: modern architecture in Lusophone Africa (1943-1974) looking through Brazilian experience established since the 1930s”, funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT, PTDC/AUR-AQUI/103229/2008) and scientifically coordinated by Prof. Ana Tostões, between 2010-2013 at Técnico – University of Lisbon (Portugal). The book had a second edition (Casal de Cambra, Caleidoscópio, 2013), making it available to a wider audience. The project aimed to study the architectural heritage built in the Lusophone Africa, mostly in Angola and Mozambique, during the Modern Movement, stressing the urgency of documenting its built set. The study was developed seeking to establish relationships with various sources and influences, relating a possible continuity with the modern Brazilian production. The chronological limits consider 1943 as the beginning of the research (Philip Goodwin, Kidder Smith, Brazil Builds, Architecture Old and New, New York, MoMA, 1943) and 1974 as the end, corresponding to the fall of the colonial regime and the independence of the colonies next year. Between this period, the pioneers of Modern Movement in Africa have demonstrated how the modern project could be local interpreted, transcended and enriched. In fact, they had to face very different conditions, physical and social, and therefore experiment innovative solutions, namely in the design with climate field, in terms of a specific response. Their experience remains valid, valuable and stimulant still today. For the first time, questions nowadays known as sustainability began to be considered as a key design concept. Modern buildings were inspired to provide a pleasant and comfortable environment. They looked for an economic and flexible design, responsive to situation changes and using the technologies available at the time mixed with the local building tradition. This research represents an important contribution in the Lusophone Africa knowledge as it concentrates on both the survey of the existing buildings and the development of a technological know-how. The research integrated different sources of information (bibliography, archives and field work), crossed with the redraw of the case studies, to conduct a comprehensive description from the layout to the constructive devices. Those drawings were the basis of the interpretative work and critical essays that follow the desirable future developments based on the reusability of many of these structures. We are facing new challenges towards the preservation of this heritage. The community that uses it, pointing to the reuse strategy is committed to examining its full cultural and material potential, to avoid the path of destruction and consequent replacement by new structures without identity, nor any concerns to energy performance. These modern buildings are still cost-effective and flexible, able to adapt to contemporary physical, environmental, and social uses. In the project scope, it was also produced: 1. Website (; 2. Database with more than 600 identified buildings; 3. International Workshop in Maputo (Mozambique) with the academic community; 4. Conferences and seminars.
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